Anonymous said: Will you talk about your time at UMBC? Why you might have liked and disliked it? and specifically it's visual arts program.
Feel like I say this a lot, but I prefer questions like this to not be anonymous. I’ll reply directly, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) — I actually will reply!
So, UMBC. This was a great school for me, and I directly attribute a lot of my current life to my time there. It’s also the only college I applied to, someone told me they had a design program and University of Maryland didn’t. It turned out to be a very good choice, because the smaller size allowed me to really flourish. It’s easier to accomplish more when you get specialized attention and there’s less competition.
The Visual Arts program was pretty good. That is how I will describe it. Art education is strange, because you can teach methodology, technique, and history, but you can’t teach vision or talent. You can’t grade creativity, just problem-solving. I had some art professors that I loved (Peggy Re, Laure Drogoul, Guenet Abraham) and others I didn’t care for. Design moves fast and I found that some professors were more in tune with modern software and others threw you into the deep end. Both approaches work but your success depends on how you learn.
Other art programs are definitely a stronger foundation. But it’s undergrad. You’re going to mess up, you’re going to be busy learning about yourself. UMBC is an environment full of people vastly different than you are. Hang out with athletes and public policy nerds and biologists. Take courses that have nothing to do with what you think art is. Don’t take “History of Music” as a “soft option” Humanities course, it’s a trap! There’s also a very strong Computer Science department and you should be learning as much about web development as you can. Then consider an MFA from another institution to get real arty if you need to later. I wish I had better programming skills. I am considering an MFA myself sometime.
I will say this every single time I talk about UMBC: Most of my education came from working at commonvision. I learned practical skills, designing with production in mind, managing actual deadlines, dealing with clients in a “safe” environment, and benefitted from a ton of smart people around me. We had a ton of fun, we planned and curated events. I chaired Art Week in 2009. I made my first postcard designs at commonvision, I printed my first Unsolicited Advice planner there. I’m not saying that “everything I’ve ever done is because of commonvision,” but I’m also not saying that. It was the single most important part of my time at UMBC.
But really, no matter what you do or where you go, you need to involve yourself. You will get out what you put in. If you want to coast and get a piece of paper, go for it. But you’re wasting your time. I did everything from campus radio to a recruitment web series where I hung out with the college president on the roof. I designed the student handbook & probably a hundred posters, flyers, and signs. I got to explore my own styles and see them plastered around campus. I ate a lot of free popcorn. UMBC gave me a ton, but I can confidently say I gave plenty back.
11:52 am • 25 July 2014 • 29 notes
#umbc #college #design #opinions #growing up
this post will cease to exist
just watched “the normal heart” and somehow just did not know that this was going to be a 2 hour film about the aids crisis, even though i know now that it’s based on a play of the same name. everyone online was posting about it and was expecting some fun hbo summer series. i started watching it at work! and then people started dying.
i’m sitting here thinking about pride and rage, and more specifically the silent brand of passive activism most of us partake in, when we “like” without reposting or “share” without reading in full. i feel like we’ve become less willing to fight, but i’m not sure if it’s because we’re too obsessed with ourselves or if it’s because we realize just how much we should be fighting for and don’t know where to start.
guess i’ll go pat myself on the back for this post and then forget about caring for a few more weeks.
10:10 pm • 28 May 2014 • 59 notes
#opinions #gay #politics #activism #internet #tl;dr
berryteeth said: Hey! I'm Ruby. I'm an art student who resides in and is incredibly passionate about Baltimore. I was curious as to what some of your favorite places were/ why you love it? It's great to hear other people's experiences and favorite things about the city.
Baltimore changes so quickly, and I feel like every time I go back it’s less like home. But there are some great places that I always like coming back to, and last time we had a talk about the city, there were some great replies, too.
- Atomic Books, Soup’s On, The Crown, Tortilleria Sinaloa, Pete’s Grille, Baltimore Barber Lounge, Charles Theatre, Eddies in Charles Village, AVAM gift shop, Broadway Diner, Ottobar sometimes, Sweet 27, the waterfront area in Fell’s Point, and a handful of places that are gone now, like Village Thrift and The Phoenix…
- Leon’s is my favorite bar, happy hour is every day from 4-10pm. It’s technically a gay leather bar, but like, not really. I once wrote a sponsored Thought Catalog article under the pseudonym “Michael Branch,” and I conveniently left out that fact. There are some other watered-down suggestions there.
- I have no idea about show spaces anymore, seems like they pop-up and then disappear every other year, but I still follow SHOWSPACE to keep up with what’s happening a little bit. If you live in Baltimore you should be following them.
Baltimore is a great city, it has a weird reputation that I sort of understand, it is not the kind of city where you show up and get it all right away, but if you’re looking for someone to hold you’re hand, you won’t find that anywhere.
2:47 pm • 28 January 2014 • 19 notes
#opinions #ask #baltimore
I’ve completed 120 “week in scraps” collages since August 31st, 2011, one per week with the exception of a single collage for January 2013. The best thing about doing this is being able to give focus to the overlooked ephemera of daily life, and find new ways to treasure small things. Some weeks are boring, but it’s always honest. You can see each individually here.
Along the way I’ve been very inspired by other artists’ work. Janice Wu does gorgeous watercolor illustrations of “seemingly worthless objects.” Nicole Lavelle uses collected objects and scraps to perfectly compliment the sentimentality of her work. Jason Bartell does meticulous charcoal drawings of bands’ set lists. Kate Bingaman-Burt has drawn a daily purchase for over six years!
Photographer Devin Castro has been following this blog for a few years now, and three months ago he started posting his own week in scraps on instagram. His #myweekinscraps hashtag has taken off, and there are currently over 350 different collections! It caught me by surprise, but it’s so awesome to see these from others, especially transit tickets from other cities, which is my favorite!
Share your own with hashtag #myweekinscraps on tumblr, instagram, or anywhere else. It’s amazing what you can make out of almost nothing at all.
12:50 pm • 15 January 2014 • 134 notes
#week in scraps #artists on tumblr #adam j. kurtz #jk #opinions #aboutme
Anonymous said: I know its kind of a cliche, but how do you suggest someone find some "direction" in life? I recently moved for my emotional and financial stability, but even though internally I'm feeling a lot better, I don't know where to take life next?
it’s flattering you would ask me this! do i seem like i have figured out my direction? it’s flattering when i get asked design questions! do i seem like i know anything about anything? i am just 1 person out of billions. i don’t know more than anyone else, and i’m happy to admit that.
what is “direction” anyway? every single person is completely different, with different needs, desires, motivations, and happiness. what makes you feel satisfied might not be enough for the next person, what you find most fulfilling in life might be what someone else gave up to find their stability. you need to figure out what makes you the best version of yourself, for yourself. learn what you need to feel comforted, loved, useful, productive, accomplished, and content. learn where you need to be, what you need to be doing, and who you need to be doing it with. it might be sharing your creative mind, it might be raising a child, it might be exploring as much of the world as you can, or it might be enjoying a happy hour drink with the rest of a group you belong to after an engaging work week. the good news is you have an entire lifetime to figure it out.
11:38 am • 18 June 2013 • 19 notes
#ask #opinions #life experiences
Anonymous said: recently i've gotten a LOT of negative backlash from family members (mainly mom and grandma, but from other assorted fam. members as well) from choosing to do graphic design. I'm set on my plan but I constantly have people trying to dissuade me from pursuing something I'm extremely interested and set on doing. any advice on how to stay positive?
here’s the thing — half the time, you’ll earn a degree in one thing and do something else entirely. think about how many people graduate with fine arts degrees versus the number of full time career artists. it’s not just art, it’s everything. ultimately, what you choose to study does not define who you become.
if graphic design is literally the only thing you’re interested in, then maybe it’s the right choice. work hard, learn as much as you can and pick up additional skills like printmaking, web development, motion graphics, whatever is available and interesting. be the best graphic designer you can be, and then take all of that to your first, second, fifth jobs. do your best and hope for the best. that is literally life.
are there are career paths that are maybe more predictable and traditional? yes, i think so. i have friends who took other paths and landed into jobs immediately after graduation, or those who are on pretty standard med school tracks. those are probably great options and i hope that they will do, or continue to do, really well.
but i also know lots of people who earned degrees in one thing or another who aren’t actively doing anything related to what they studied. or aren’t actively doing anything at all, really. what you study doesn’t define you forever. you can always try, learn, and explore new things. life will surprise you, jobs will push you down different career paths, and you may find that you’re really good at, and enjoy, something you did not expect.
your family is worried about you because they know what we are just figuring out — that life is hard, that priorities and dreams change, and that nothing is guaranteed. they want you to have the best foundation possible so you can achieve everything they know you deserve. choose to be happy by doing something you know you love, but make them proud by being the fucking best at it.
11:05 am • 18 June 2013 • 25 notes
#ask #opinions #design
This was a tough weekend but I am grateful for a lot of things. Rest in peace, I love you, a bushel and a peck. Read More.
5:49 pm • 30 April 2013 • 80 notes
#opinions #family #life experiences #thought catalog
Potential Future Thought Catalog Articles That I Would Maybe Write Sometime Probably
- “things that i actually did or said on dates”
- “the universe used to revolve around me until last month”
- “ways in which i am literally turning into my mother”
- “songs that i thought might actually save my life”
- “idk something ~quirky~ about me, lol”
- “advice that i gave to you that i did not take myself”
- “reasons why suicide might actually be the answer”
- "articles on this website that i think are much better than mine"
- “people that i have slept with that i will never forget”
- “people that i have slept with that i literally can’t remember”
- “why tumblr is simultaneously saving and ruining my life”
- “this list hahahahahahahahahahahaha winkface.gif”
6:13 pm • 15 April 2013 • 63 notes
#lists #saving this for later #opinions
today marks 1 full year of living in new york city, a year that has changed me in ways i did not and could not have anticipated, good, bad, and “i don’t know yet or ever.” this year has gone by so quickly that it’s almost hard to comprehend at all.
this morning i picked up all my developed film, ten rolls from the last year. at the same time that the year has disappeared, i’m suddenly hit with an overwhelming wealth of documentation — road trip signage, best friends & breakfast, people i have loved, and things i forgot completely.
life has been really good to me and i have a lot of positive things in my life. but i also have a lot of work to do. i’m realizing things about myself that a lot of people who love me have already known. i’m realizing things that i have been leaking out the sides onto the internet and through the bits and pieces that i make, art or whatever.
so now i have all these emotions and memories and photos. are they art? does that matter? do i put them on facebook and tag my friends? do i edit and juxtapose and put them to paper? is this past year a zine? is this past year a postcard series? will the life i’m living and the lessons i learned still matter if i don’t make something out of it? are the feelings still valid if i don’t share them? can i even share everything? will i be too vulnerable? is it fair to air out the old feelings when everyone is so diligently moving on in their own directions? is it fair to relive past lives when i can only move forward?
i’ve spent the last few months just trying to figure out what everything means for me. i’ve regretted “being an ‘artist,’” i have wished that i didn’t always have to “make things out of things,” i have wished that i could just work and eat and sleep and repeat. but that’s just not how i function.
the truth is what i guess i have always known. life is what you make of it. sometimes literally, and i explore that a lot. but it can’t always be tangible. not every feeling can be a postcard that i can mail away. some emotions are exactly what they are, and they have to be mine to keep. so i am going to go through all my photos and i will share some when i figure it all out.
11:45 am • 1 April 2013 • 95 notes
#life #nyc #life experiences #opinions #gpoyw
I’m looking for my first studio space and it’s pretty overwhelming. So I decided to do what I do best, which is talk to people and ask them a lot of questions. Today I visited the Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio of illustrator Nick Iluzada, whose name I will link repeatedly.
Nick's work is bright and cheerful with a whole lot of movement. Sort of like him, basically. He's done editorial work for like The New York Times and The Atlantic, releases his own prints and zines, and does lots of collaborative projects too. He is in my 2013 weekly planner! He is a nice guy! He has a tumblr!
As a freelancer, he needs to keep busy and focused, but he seems pretty good at both of those things. His shared studio space is full of physical resources (all the paper! risograph printer! a million comics!) as well as people resources (I met cartoonist & illustrator Nick Sumida too!) and tons of good stuff to look at.
I guess a good way to develop your work and explore new ideas is to work with other people, in a space that allows for experimentation, that isn’t just your bedroom. If anyone else around NYC has a cool studio space to check out, let me know!
4:19 pm • 22 March 2013 • 40 notes
#nick iluzada #life #opinions
Anonymous said: Why are you so full of yourself?
I am pretty self-aware and self-conscious (duh that’s sort of my whole “thing”), I don’t think people who know me would say this and mean it. People who know me know that I, like most people, have to work for confidence and work for that same fullness that you portray as negative. Here’s the secret: Having confidence is great! Who else should I be full of if not myself?
Tumblr spends a lot of time pretending to be the perfect person, we are THE MOST POLITICALLY CORRECT and THE MOST COOL and maybe THE EDGIEST and THE CLEVEREST but truthfully this is a blog and I am 1 guy and you know, I am whatever I am and this blog sometimes reflects that and sometimes doesn’t. It’s personal because it’s honest, but it’s not the full story because 1. I’m writing it selectively and 2. I don’t know what the full story is anyway.
Usually I ignore this sort of anonymous message, but lately all I want to do is respond openly and share because I simply don’t mind being recognized for things I work for, and sometimes confidence is one of those things. Thank you.
3:54 pm • 25 February 2013 • 48 notes
#ask #life #opinions
Anonymous said: Hi Adam, I have a question for you. What is the best place to get a pizza slice in New York. I'm going for my first time in March :) Also, if you wouldn't mind recommending a few things you think I should check out to really captivate the New York experience. I would really appreciate it! If you're too busy, that's fine too. I understand. Have a lovely day. X
Nobody ever asks me questions about life in New York, which I am usually pretty grateful for because I don’t really know how to answer them. I’ve been here for 8 months and it feels like 1, somehow. In New York years I was born tomorrow or next week, basically. The best place to get a pizza slice is probably anywhere.
I like Vinnie’s because there are a lot of vegan options so anybody can eat it and it’s like a fifteen minute walk from my apartment. But there’s dollar pizza everywhere and it’s pretty good for a dollar. There’s free pizza with drink purchase at a lot of bars. FREE! Some people swear by Artichoke but the other day I was right near there and there was an entire slice facedown on the sidewalk and I prefer to internalize that as “someone hated their pizza so much that they threw it on the floor.” Pizza in New York is like pizza in any other city. When it’s awesome, it’s awesome. When it’s shitty, it’s still kind of awesome. People will tell you that the pizza here is just better. I am not that guy. I don’t know the fucking difference. The best pizza is wherever you stop at your hungriest, when you only have 3 dollars in your pocket, and you’re with a friend.
Same goes for basically everything in this city. I don’t know how to help you captivate the New York experience because I can’t curate your experience I can only speak to my own. Life doesn’t happen in a plan or on a schedule. A good way to do it might be to plan 1 big thing that matters to you (shopping, a museum, a landmark, etc) in the morning and evening and let your food choices happen by accident. Have a random cup of coffee wherever you are at. It will probably be good enough. Have lunch from a cart or just eat a pretzel for lunch. It’s not going to be the best pretzel in the world but you will be in New York City eating a soft pretzel, that is your postcard moment.
All that being said, my favorite donut in New York is Peter Pan in Greenpoint. I love Prosperity Dumpling in Chinatown because it is dirt cheap and so good. I like brunch at Saxon + Parole or Habitat (both have bloody mary bars), and I really, really like The Bagel Store. Oh, and back to pizza, Slice Harvester might have your back.
4:56 pm • 20 February 2013 • 16 notes
#ask #nyc #food #opinions